Israel wins first medal in Rio

Israel’s Judoka Yarden Gerbi won a bronze medal in the under 63-kg Judo competition on Tuesday after beating her Japanese opponent Miku Tashiru, winning Israel its first Olympic medal in the 2016 Rio Games.

Gerbi is the first Israeli athlete to win an Olympic medal since windsurfer Shahar Tzuberi brought home a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing games, the seventh athlete in Israel’s history to achieve such high national honor, and the second Israeli woman to do so, after Yael Arad’s bronze medal in the 1992 Barcelona games, also in Judo.

Gerbi dedicated her medal for all of Israel and said she was extremely proud to represent the country. Although encountering many obstacles to the podium, including questionable judging during one of her matches, she said her hard work paid off and that she achieved her dream.

She said she was “very proud” to see the Israeli flag raised in Rio after her victory, and kept on pointing to the Israeli flag sown to her uniform.

President Reuven Rivlin called Gerbi shortly after receiving her medal and congratulated her on her achievement. “All the people here in Israel are excited together with you. We all held our breath and prayed for your success but at the end of the day the one who did it was you, you are simply our champion. Well done. Today you are our heroine,” he told here

He asked that she pass on his wishes to her colleagues on the Israeli Olympic team.

Gerbi, who is scheduled to return to for the celebrations in Israel on Sunday, will receive a grant of 250,000 shekels from the Israeli Olympic Committee. Her trainer Shani Hershko will receive 125,000 shekels.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News